In speech-act theory, an action or state of mind brought about by, or as a consequence of, saying something.
Examples and Observations:
- "Intuitively, a perlocutionary act is an act performed by saying something, and not in saying something. Persuading, angering, inciting, comforting and inspiring are often perlocutionary acts; but they would never begin an answer to the question 'What did he say?' Perlocutionary acts, in contrast with locutionary and illocutionary acts, which are governed by conventions, are not conventional but natural acts (Austin (1955), p. 121). Persuading, angering, inciting, etc. cause physiological changes in the audience, either in their states or behavior; conventional acts do not."
(Aloysius Martinich, Communication and Reference. Walter de Gruyter, 1984)
- "In the perlocutionary instance, an act is perfomed by saying something. For example, if someone shouts 'fire' and by that act causes people to exit a building which they believe to be on fire, they have performed the perlocutionary act of convincing other people to exit the building. . . . In another example, if a jury foreperson declares 'guilty' in a courtroom in which an accused person sits, the illocutionary act of declaring a person guilty of a crime has been undertaken. The perlocutionary act related to that illocution is that, in reasonable circumstances, the accused person would be convinced that they were to be led from the courtroom into a jail cell. Perlocutionary acts are acts intrinsically related to the illocutionary act which precedes them, but discrete and able to be differentiated from the illocutionary act."
(Katharine Gelber, Speaking Back: The Free Speech Versus Hate Speech Debate. John Benjamins, 2002)